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I work in the construction industry and my company is interested in establishing a more professional and profound way of project management. There is definitely a need to become more organized and structured. I have passed the PRINCE2 Foundation exam and now I am tasked with transferring the PRINCE2 project organization (and everything else, of course) to the company. It is a provider of technical building services. That means, we do not build any buildings, but we are hired to complete them.

There is one thing that I keep stumbling upon: the allocation of the roles to actual people within the company/projects. If I understand PRINCE2 correctly, the project would be a new building. For the investor, this is a classic project. For us, contributing to the building, it is basically a job. It's what we do as a company, which could be described as our "daily business". Still, each project we work on is different, needs to be planned (the client won't tell us how many people and how long it will take to deliver), and can be risky. Also, PRINCE2 says, the executive is responsible for the whole project, and usually represented by the client. He/she calculates the costs, conducts investment calculations, defines the benefits of the products of the project. That does not happen on "our side" in reality. We do not judge on how beneficial the new building is, our client/the investor does that. However, there is no way he will become the executive for the work that needs to be done by us. He provides an assignment, the specifics and expects results. He will not direct "the project" on our side. I do realize that our role would be rather the one of a senior supplier, looking at the whole building/project. Still, we need a person who is responsible and accountable for the "project" on our side, which is the conception and planning of technical equipment. We also need someone to manage issues and changes, i.e. a project manager.

I was thinking of letting the client and our Head of Projects act the executive together, but that is not possible as per PRINCE2. So is the combination of the senior supplier and the executive in one person. Also, it looks like my company would not write the business case (our sole benefit is the revenue and possibly a prestigious client in our portfolio, the building itself is of no use for our company). On the other hand, we cannot ask the client for a business case so we can start working.

So I am hoping to find some input and advise on the overall question that I face: what would be a useful, realistic and sustainable project organization for our type of company and projects as per PRINCE2? There has to be a solution, as I keep reading/getting told, PRINCE2 is suitable for all kinds of companies/industries. I am aware that a Practicioner exam would possibly help me here, but I probably won't be able to get certified just now.

Therefore, I am very grateful for any hints and experiences you could share. You would literally make my day (and month!) :) ... as this is quite the essential question I need to answer before transferring the rest of the PRINCE2 content.

Thank you very much in advance!

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I believe the project, from your point of view, is the work to complete the building. You don't really care how the rest of the project is run: your company is responsible for delivering your part of the bigger project, so you should only be worrying about the bit that you are responsible for, and setting roles based on that understanding.

The Project Executive should, I suggest, be someone like your Head of Projects, responsible for your delivery of the scope that you have been contracted for, or alternatively the Head of Sales who is the person who has to interface with the client, and carries the can if it all goes wrong.

Senior Supplier could be the person in your company who is responsible for the staff and / or resource utilisation.

Senior user might be the Head of Sales or Head of Projects (depending on who is the project executive). Or this could be a role that is fulfilled by someone from the client side. It's hard to be sure without knowing the relationship between your company and the client.

In terms of the business case, this is not the case for the entire building: it is your internal business case for taking on the work. If it isn't profitable, why are you doing it? And if it is, what are the constraints that you have to work under? Some of these could be set by the client, such as timescales and penalty clauses, while others will be internal to your company.

I hope this helps!

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  • Thank you, Iain! It helped indeed. While I was incorporating your feedback in my concept and futher PRINCE2 aspects, I came to the following conclusions/questions: The reasons, goals, benefits (-> revenue) and risks throughout the projects we work on can be very similar, from the supplier point of view, correct? As the actual product of the project is not of much use for us. Although PRINCE2 emphazises the difference between the project organization and actual roles within the company, do you think PRINCE2 allows for companies to employ people with the same titels, i.e. project support? – Jessica May 11 at 14:33
  • Jessica, you must remember that if your company is working with the client, they probably won't just hand over everything to you. They will want some involvement although if they completely outsource your part of the project to your company, you will be at arms length from them, so they should have minimal input except to answer questions if required. The titles can be the same within each company: the difference is in the responsibilities for the project. While I have suggested a clear split between the companies, in reality the lines are likely to be less clear so compromises may be needed. – Iain9688 May 11 at 17:25

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